Powderpost beetles are various wood-boring insects of different species in the Lyctinae subfamily. These insects are common in home and affect and destroy wooden structures. Powderpost beetles mainly live in moist logs and tree branches. The insects become active and mate during the warmer weather and remain inactive during winter.
How the Powderpost Beetles Infest Wood Structures
It is when the Powderpost beetles are at the larval stage when they destroy the wood. At this stage, the insect relies on the wood for starch, sugar, and protein. Besides, the wood must have moisture content as dry wood is uninhabitable for the larvae. The insect feeds on the wood leaving behind a flour-like powder.
How to Discover Infestation
Once the adult beetles have completed their development, they create exit holes. They then mate and lay their eggs leaving them on or below the wood. When the eggs hatch, the larvae bore into the wood and make it their home for the next one to five years. When you see small and round “shotholes” on any wooden product, this is an indicator of Powderpost beetle infestation.
How to Prevent Powderpost Beetle Infestation
Having background information about powderpost beetles and how they infest wooden structures is critical in keeping your home free of these insects. The following measures could be used to save you the money you would have used in treating and replacing infested structures.
- Lumber and finished wood structures are some of the most common source of Powderpost beetles at homes. It is vital to ensure that only correctly stored and dry lumber is used. Painting and finishing are effective in preventing the wood from being infested by Powderpost beetles.
- Before purchasing any wood to be used in your home, inspect if it is infested with Powderpost beetles. This will play a vital role in keeping your home free of these destructive insects.
- Ensure use of adequately dried wood in your home. The moisture content should be at least 20%.
- It is also advisable to use pre-treated wood at home. Ensure pesticides or wood preservatives have been used on the wood before using it.
How to Control Powderpost Beetles
If you discover Powderpost beetle infestation in your home, the following points can help in getting rid of them.
- Control the Moisture Content
Since Powderpost beetles survive only in the wet environment, make your wooden structures inhabitable by ensuring the moisture content is below 20%. You can know the moisture level in your wood furniture by using a moisture meter. To reduce the moisture content, use central heat and vapor barriers to control it. Besides, proper ventilation and use of dry wood can help eliminate Powderpost beetle infestations.
- Replace Infested Wood
Sometimes, you can quickly identify the infested areas. If this is possible, the infested areas should be removed to control the spread to other structures. Besides, if the use of insecticides fails, replacement can be the only option available. Ensure you replace your structure with pre-treated wood to control infestation in the future.
One of the most common ways of controlling Powderpost infestation is the use of pesticides. Most people prefer this method as it leaves the wooden structure in its original form. Insecticides are effective in killing the eggs and larvae that come into contact with it. It is important to note that pesticides are effective in controlling the pests in the areas the treatment reaches. Any place not reached by the treatment is not free of beetle infestation.
- Use Sanded and Varnished Wood
Adult beetles lay and deposit their eggs on the surfaces of the wood. However, the wood must have cracks and crevices. Use of sanded and varnished wood discourages infestation by the beetles since it is not penetrable. You should, therefore, ensure that your wooden structures and furniture are made of sanded and varnished wood to remain safe from Powderpost beetle infestations.
Fumigation is a costly method for Powderpost beetles control and should only be used as the last option. This process is efficient where severe damage is present and where other methods of control have failed. Besides, this is the only method that can be used to control the pest in places like cramped crawlspaces. It is important to note that fumigation does not last, and its use does not guarantee prevention of future re-infestation.